And now, here are my 5IVE Keys for the Heat heading into Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals:
- Feed off the fans, remember 2011. In the 2011 NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks celebrated their franchises first NBA championship on the Heat’s home floor and for the Heat players and its fans, it was unacceptable. Tonight will be Miami’s last home game of the 2011-2012 NBA season irregardless of the end result of tonight’s game. The fans in Miami have been waiting for an NBA championship since 2006 and since the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh in Miami, fans expected more out of the Heat to bring home the bacon. After unsuccessfully being capable of doing that last year despite having home-court advantage, the Heat must now showcase in front of their home fans and again, a little bit of Sonics fans, what Heat basketball with LeBron, Wade, Bosh, and the rest of the Heat, are all about.
- Role players must play to their role. Mario Chalmers has been aggressive and has been able to make an imprint in this series by his clutch plays that you would normally see Dwyane Wade doing. From tough lay-ups to three-point bombs, Chalmers can make a difference in the game and can give the Heat another energy outside of the Big 3. Shane Battier has now balanced himself very well on both ends of the floor. Instead of just being a great defender, Battier has been an assassin on the offensive end with his three point shooting. And no, it’s not only from his sweet-spot-baseline three pointer, but from anywhere on the floor. Udonis Haslem’s hustle and presence inside has made it difficult for the Thunder players to get in and score on them. Haslem, only the second player on the Heat’s roster with an NBA championship, knows what it takes to win a championship and tonight he has to show them exactly how to do it.
- Hustle hustle hustle. Every loose ball and every rebound, the Heat must know that hustle plays, which don’t appear on the box score, would inspire any basketball team to play better. Especially with just one game needed to win an NBA championship, a couple of hustle plays from tough rebounds to loose balls on the floor would change the atmosphere and intensity of both the Heat players and the home crowd at the Triple A. Dive on the floor, get floor burns, get physical, jump higher, outwork your opponent, and most of all stay determined.
- Don’t celebrate too early. The Thunder have already proven before that they are a resilient basketball team that won’t stop fighting until the two zeros show up on the game clock. The Heat themselves know how it feels to lose a big lead in the NBA Finals. In 2011, the Heat led by 15 points with 7 minutes to play in the 4th quarter of Game 2, however, the Heat began too celebrate by punching their chests and began making bad plays which resulted to the determined Dallas Mavericks to come all the way back to steal Game 2 on the Heat’s home floor. Early game celebrations may also inspire the opponent to play better and more fire and that was also the reason for how the Mavericks came back in Game 2. Tonight, the Heat should only celebrate when the game is for sure over or better yet, when the buzzer-goes off and the Larry O’Brien trophy is being brought out.
- Big 3 … you know what is expected, especially you LeBron. I’ll make this short and simple since it’s obvious. After 9 years of being in the league since 2003, they are just one game away from an NBA championship. For Wade, this would be his second in 6 years. For Bosh and James, it has been 9 years of hard work without positive results, especially for LeBron who has been awarded with award after award but no NBA championship. Just one more win needed. Take it or try again in front of a thunderous crowd in Oklahoma City.
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